'Che' Star Discovered His 'Groovy' Hero From Rolling Stones Song

The only thing more shallow than the "Che" box office receipts which are currently stuck at less than a measly million are the reasons given by the star of that movie, Benicio del Toro, for admiring the character he portrays. One can only shake his head in sadness at the pathetically shallow nature of del Toro's admiration while reading this American Thinker article written by the author of Exposing the Real Che Guevara, Humberto Fontova:

"Del Toro was fascinated with Che Guevara from the first time he heard his name mentioned in the Rolling Stones song Indian Girl," reads the introduction to an interview with Benicio del Toro last month in Britain's Guardian. "Of course he found himself fascinated by Ernesto Che Guevara - he loved the Stones, and Emotional Rescue was the first album he'd bought. "I hear of this guy and he's got a cool name. Che Guevara!" Del Toro as good as swoons when he says it. Groovy name, groovy man, groovy politics!

This inspired del Toro to begin his own "in-depth" research of the groovy Guevara:

"So I went to a library and I was looking at books, and I came across a picture by René Burri of Che, smiling, in fatigues, I thought, 'Dammit, this guy is cool-looking!' 

So who could possibly take Benicio del Toro seriously? Why the usual leftwing suspects of course which would include the Huffington Post as you can see in this interview with del Toro conducted by Peter Kornbluh (emphasis mine):

All those millions of young people wearing Che tee-shirts. What do you want them to know about Che Guevara from this film?

You know what, I think there is a misconception about the tee-shirts. I'm a tee-shirt wearing man. And when I wear a tee-shirt it means something. It's like a removable tattoo. When you see someone wearing a Che tee-shirt, they are saying something that captures in some way the essence of Che--whether it's the underdog, the guy who didn't sell out, the guy who did the sacrifice, the guy who fought against injustice...that is my experience with the people who wear those tee-shirts of Che.

This movie can only add to that--add to that other more specific details and events about Che, I think. If they wear that Che tee-shirt, I think they will find elements of what that tee-shirt represents to them in the movie. They might not know the details: they might not know that he was Argentinian; they might not know that he was under Fidel ['s command]. They might not know where and how he died. But when it comes to Che it is that other essence that is really important.

Yes, if you wear that groovy t-shirt you will find that Che grooviness captured in the groovy "Che" movie. Benicio del Toro then explains why it was decided to produce two box office bombs instead of just one incredibly dull movie that was doomed to die at the box office:

You spent years preparing for the role. How does an actor prepare to play such a legendary figure such as Che Guevara?

Well, I didn't spend years preparing for the role. I spent years working on the story, you know, as a producer mostly. Usually I get a script, the script is written and then I come in and do my ingredients as an actor. Here, I was working on the story. Yes, I was learning things about the character. It wasn't like I had a script and I spent seven years doing research on a character where the script was already written. That character was being written, and the script was getting thicker and thicker to the point where it turned into two movies...or a long-ass movie, not two movies, but a movie with two parts.

Del Toro goes on to explain why it isn't necessary to accurately portray Che:

And preparing for the role?

At some point you have all that knowledge but you do what I was telling you about. If you try to look like him, sound like him, move like him you will fall into being a robot. You will start mimicking him to an extent. And you don't want to do that because then you lose him. You won't be able to react, which is 50 percent of acting. What is most important is to do the homework, but at some point you have to throw it away...and play the scene with what you learned. You have to throw it away. At some point you have to let it go.

To play Che you don't have to sound like him, you don't have look like him or move like him. You just have to understand what he stood for, and play him. As an interpreter of Che--and I'm not the first or the last--that's the only advice that I send out for the future Che interpretations.

I'll remember that the next time I go to Las Vegas and watch an Elvis impersonator on stage who doesn't look or sound at all like The King. Del Toro then attempts to explain away all those "inconvenient" executions carried out  by the groovy Guevara:

When the movie premiered in Miami there were a lot of protesters outside the theater. How does the movie handle the most controversial issues about Che--his involvement in executions.

First of all, the protesters hadn't seen the movie. They were protesting Che, or Fidel Castro, or Cuba, or the revolution. But they hadn't seen the movie, you know. That was strange for me. I understand [the protests], but at least see the movie. The fact of the matter is that as a military man he believed in capital punishment. The movie doesn't shy away from that [issue]. I mean, we can't show everything, but we do show an execution. We do show what he verbally said about capital punishment and executions in Cuba, and why. But he was no different than any other military man when it comes to capital punishment.

See, Che's executions can be explained away as one small part of being a military man...at least according to Che Guevara scholar Benicio del Toro.

Hey, Benicio! Here's a suggestion for your next film project. Do a portrayal of Joseph Stalin. See, in his early years Stalin called himself "Koba," while robbing banks in the Caucusus in order to help finance the Bolsheviks. 

Groovy man, groovy name, groovy politics! We are looking forward to your two-part "Koba" movie. Oh, and all those executions ordered by Koba/Stalin? Hey, he was "no different than any other military man when it came to capital punishment."

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.